- yerin pushed open the door to the little café and was instantly greeted by the thick aroma of espresso. the clink of ceramic teacups against wooden countertops was a gentle harmony above the chatter of friends that clustered around circular tables, gesturing and laughing underneath woollen coats and sweaters. fall's last breath had lent a thin film of crystalline ice upon every leaf and railing, but inside the warmth was intoxicating. yerin loved this café: loved the delicate napkins and the simple dishes, loved the boothes where couples laughed and kissed over pastries and steaming mugs.
she made her way to a small table in the corner of the shop; it was her favorite place to sit and draw, or read, or simply watch the world go by. yerin placed her book bag by the wooden chair and sat, absentmindedly pushing a lock of dark hair behind one ear. she didn't have to glance at the menu to know what she was getting: a café latte. its mellow flavor was the perfect way to relax into a day as slow as this one.
yerin's eyes cast lazily around the café, before alighting on a boy across the room who sat at a table overlooking the street. he wore a pair of bulky white headphones and a thick brown scarf, and though she could only see the back of his head she judged him to be about college-age, like her. over his shoulder, she watched in curiosity as he sketched what seemed from afar to be the frosty road before him. he seemed completely oblivious to his surroundings, immersed in his work.
yerin got up to order, her eyes still fixed on the artist and his sketch. the plump lady at the counter greeted her with a cheery smile.
"what would you like, dear?"
"one café latte, please!" yerin requested with a smile. the servers here were always so friendly.
in a matter of minutes the latte arrived, a creamy froth crowning it. yerin paid and thanked the server.
when she got back to her seat, she noticed with a frown that the boy's seat was empty. a torn-out page from a sketchbook was left in his place. yerin looked around to see if anyone else shared her confusion, but everyone in the café was wrapped up in their own conversations or books. she crossed the room and gazed down at the paper in shy curiosity.
it was a pencil sketch of the street, as yerin had expected, but expertly rendered. she held it up to the window and saw a nearly perfect match: the facing storefront, the parked car outside, even the backwards letters on the window spelling out "café." at the top of the page, it was printed: "for whoever finds this." and at the bottom, it was signed with a neat flourish: "jjg."